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                   THIS IS LONDON... TOO

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom. It is one of the world's largest research librairies, holding over 150 million items in all known languages and formats; books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, patents databases, maps, stamps, prints drawings and much more. Its book collection is second only to the American Library of Congress. The Library's collections include around 25 million books, along with substantial additional collection of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 300 BC.


 Statue of Newton (after Paolozzi) in the British Library courtyard.


Temple Bar is the barrier (real or imaginary) marking the westernmost extent of the City of London on the road to Westminster, where Fleet Street (extending westwards) becomes the Strand. Until 1878, this boundary was demarcated by a stone gateway designed by Christopher Wren.


Today Temple Bar (like other major entrances to the City of London) is marked by a stone monument in the middle of the roadway, topped by a statue of a griffin, a winged lion with the head of an eagle; a pair of dragons are more properly supporters of the City's arms. This one is located beside The Royal Courts of Justice. (Where Fleet street beocmes the Stand)


Could not take pictures inside, but it looks like a church...That's how the legal system saw themselves..This is the highest court in England for civil cases. (The Old Bailey further down the street is for criminal cases)

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court (professional associations for barristers and judges). To be  called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns. It is located in the wider Temple area of the capital, near the Royal Courts of Justice.


Samuel Johnson's "A dictionary of the English language" was published in 1755; it had a far-reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship. This is where he lived and worked.


The Temple Church is a late 12th century church located between Fleet street and the River Thames, built for and by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church. It was heavily damaged during the WW II but has been largely restored. Added some more pictures from our visit in July 2015. We actually entered the church.







Off the King's Road, November 2016



  The Albert Memorial located in a park opposite the Royal Albert hall. 


The Royal Albert Hall is an arts venue situated in the Knightsbridge area, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941. Since its opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world's leading artists from every kind of performance genre have appeared on its stage.


A performance of Handel's Messiah on Good Friday 04-2011.   

The Fortune Theatre is a 432 seat West End theatre in Russell Street, near Covent Garden, built in 1922-4. The theatre is entered through bronze double doors, internally, there is a foyer of grey and red marble, with a beaten copper ticket booth. It was the first theatre to be built in London after the end of WWI. The theatre opened, as the Fortune Thriller Theatre on a rainy day August 8, 1924.


The Garrick Theatre (yes, that's me dancing away. Apologies to Kenneth Branagh)



 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2014)


Masterpiece London, the leading international cross-collecting Fair for art, antiques and design, has become a must-attend event at the heart of the capital?s busy summer art and auction season. The fair takes place in the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Offering for sale museum-quality works with superb provenance from over 150 leading galleries worldwide, Masterpiece provides a unique opportunity to buy the best pieces available across multiple disciplines in the current market.

Showcasing works that span over 4,000 years of art history, from antiquity to the present day, the Fair creates an unparalleled event for collectors, and provides something of interest for every visitor.

We had fun visiting the various booths...and aside from admiring the art on display we were imagining buying some too...:-)







One of our favorite restaurants in London:

Randa By Maroush--23 Kensington Church Street, London. (Took a picture of Jean with Judy)







Chelsea Football Club are a professional football club based in Fulham. London, who play in the Premier League. Founded in 1905, the club have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. The club's home ground is the 41,837-seat Stamford Bridge stadium, where they have played since their establishment.



Arsenal Football Club is based in Highbury, London.Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They entered the First Division in 1904.




The store has over one million square feet of selling space in over 330 departments. This makes Harrods one of the largest department stores in the world. Harrods was established in 1834 in when founder Charles Henry Harrod set up a wholesale grocery in Stepney.  

                                                       Spencer House

It has long been my dream to visit Spencer House and I was not disappointed!

Spencer House is located in St. James Place with views of Buckingham Palace.
The 8 rooms that have been refurbished, have been done to a very high standard and are available for viewing on Sundays (except for January and August) after a 10 year magnificent restoration. They are also available for private events the rest of the week.
Spencer House is known as an 18th century private palace built in 1756-66 in the neo classical, Palladian style for the first Earl Spencer and his wife.

John, First Earl Spencer married Georgiana Poyntz in 1755 at Althorp the Spencer seat, it was a love match and following their honeymoon, they set about building a London house in St. James overlooking Green Park, to showcase their wealth and political standing. The two
Were very, very wealthy,  with John descending from the Duchess of Marlborough (thus a connection to The Churchills) and Earl of Sunderland. Lady Diana, Princess of Wales is from this family. No expense was spared in creating this home and no expense was spared in restoring it.

There was some damage in WWII, though reparable.  Certain furnishings and fixtures such as fireplace mantles were removed to Althorpe, their country seat.  Most of the original furniture remains at Althorpe.

Post WWII the building was refit for offices, including Christie's Auction House and many original finishes were covered over.  These have now been uncovered and in some cases (only one original fireplace mantle remains) have been painstakingly restored. The restoration has been by a Rothschild trust. It was mentioned that rumour has it that Prince Charles could have leased Spencer House for his wife to be Diana, however he hesitated and the lease went to Rothschild. The Spencer Family still own Spencer House and the current Earl, (Diana's brother) leases it to the Rothschild trust.
My impressions were that this was "the" best London address convenient to
All things especially as London grew, being in St. James, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly,  Fortnum and Mason's, the Royal Academy. I was especially impressed by the large mahogany doors (in some cases made to look like mahogany) with the dominant letter S on each door handle.
The attention to detail is stunning. Only one original chandelier remains.
In the large staircase there is a huge lighting fixture which is in fact a ship's lantern, not original to the house, but it looks like it was meant to be there.
The history and story is very interesting as told to us by a woman guide who has worked at Spencer House throughout the restoration process and she knows the restorers and timelines on everything as well as the history of the house, to a meticulous degree.
A visit to this house is not to be missed!












Borough Market is a  wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, Central London  It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London. In 2014, it celebrated its 1,000th birthday. A great place to eat.




(Charing Cross)







Syon House, with its 200-acre park, is situated in west London. It belongs to the Duke of Nothumberland and is now his family's London residence. The family's traditional central London residence was Northumberland House. The eclectic interior of the house as is famous today was designed by the architect Robert Adam in the 1760s. We visited the house early in the morning and we had the chance to get "private tours" from all the guides in the different rooms. It made the place come alive. An hidden gem just a bus ride away. (The 148 Bus) 

The 260-year-old Lion, the Percy family emblem, was removed from the house in 2009 in a bit of a sorry state; his tail had dropped off and his feet were crumbling.


The Leighton House Museum is a museum in the Holland Park, district of Kensington and Chelsea. The former home of the painter Frederic, Lord Leighton, it has been open to the public since 1929.



In 1889 an additional winter studio was added to the building. The final addition by Aitchison was the top-lit picture gallery in 1895. After Leighton died in 1896, the contents of the house were sold, including at least one thousand of his own drawings, almost all of which were bought by the Fine Art Society.

The Wigmore Hall is a leading international recital venue that specialises in performances of chamber music and song. It is located at 36 Wigmore Street, London, UK, and was built to provide the city with a venue that was impressive yet intimate-enough for recitals of chamber music. With near-perfect acoustics, the hall quickly became celebrated across Europe and featured many of the great artistes of the 20th century.

Originally named the Bechstein Hall, it was built between 1899 and 1901 by C. Bechsstein Pianofortefabrik, the German piano manufacturer, whose showroom was next door. The renowned British architect  Thomas Edward Collcutt was commissioned to design the space. Collcutt was also responsible for the Savoy Hotel.

I've attended two concerts over the years. A wonderful experience for lovers of chamber music.


Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 ? 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime. His novels and short stories enjoy lasting popularity. WE visited his home in Bloomsbury  (48 Doughty Street) where he lived with his wife from 25 March 1837 until December 1839. While not a great Dickens fan, we nonetheless enjoyed our visit. It's a fascinating place.



The Foundling Hospital was founded in 1741 by the Thomas Coram. It was a children's home established for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children." The word "hospital" was used in a more general sense than it is today, simply indicating the institution's "hospitality" to those less fortunate.

Elements of the Hospital's routine make appearances in Charles Dickens's 1830s novel Oliver Twist , even though he was not placed in the Foundling Hospital itself. Dickens explains that 'When he was handed over to the workhouse, a "token" was left, as well... though not through the Hospital's properly regulated system... by which his mother, had her fortunes improved, might have re-claimed him.' Oliver was sent out to work by the workhouse, with the workhouse obtaining financial benefit from his employment. In what might be another connection, Mr. Bumble's famous objection to workhouse boys having meat in their diet ? "It makes them Wicious!" ? could have found its way into the story as a nod to the fact that the Foundling Hospital's regulations specifically state that the children should have meat at some meals, while other meals should consist of "Roots or Herbs"






Southwark Cathedral lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London bridge. It has been a place of Christian worship for more than 1,000 years, but a cathedral only since the creation of the diocese of Southwark in 1905.

Between 1106 and 1538 it was the church of an Augustinian priory, Southwark Priory, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, it became a parish church, with the new dedication of St-Saviour's. The present building retains the basic form of the Gothic structure built between 1220 and 1420, although the nave is a late 19th-century reconstruction.





John Keats (October 1795 ? 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.

It was a fascinating visit. We had a guided tour. The tree shown is original. Keats used look at through the downstairs parlor window. He slept in the parlor because he suffered (and would die) from TB.


From a Rotherhithe quayside, near a pub called the Shippe, the Mayflower set sail for America. It was the spring of 1620, on board were a group of Protestants fleeing religious persecution. Captain Christopher Jones couldn't have known that his passengers were to become the most famous Americans ever, the Pilgrim Fathers.

The Mayflower and its crew returned to Rotherhithe in 1621. Jones died a year later and was buried at St. Mary's Churchyard, a stones throw from the pub. His grave is now unmarked but a plaque records his fateful journey.

A century later the Shippe was rebuilt and renamed the Spread Eagle and Crown. In 1957 the pub was restored. In recognition of its historic connection with America, it was renamed the Mayflower. It is licensed to sell both US and British postage stamps, having been a post office for the river.This picture was taken while sailing on the Thames.


The Royal Geographical Society is a British society founded in 1830 with the name Geographical Society of London for the advancement of geographical sciences, under the patronage of King William IV. It absorbed the 'Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa'--also known as the African Association, the Raleigh Club and the Palestine Association.

It was given a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1859.Founding members of the Society included Sir John Barrow, Sir John Franklin and Francis Beaufort (creator of the Beaufort scale for indicating wind force). It has been a key associate and supporter of many famous explorers and expeditions, including those of Charles Darwin and David Livingstone.

If you have seen the movie "The English Patient"  the main characters were working for the RGS. Of course, one of the them was also working for the British Secret service.               



Guildhall has been used as a town hall for several hundred years, and is still the ceremonial and administrative centre of the City of London and its Corporation . (It should not be confused with London's City Hall. The term "Guildhall" refers both to the whole building and to its main room, which is a medieval great hall. The building is traditionally referred to as Guildhall, never "the" Guildhall.







                                      Pictures from the south bank

The Oxo Tower is a building with a prominent tower on the south bank of the River Thames in London. The building has mixed use as Oxo Tower Wharf containing a set of design, arts and crafts shops on the ground and first floors with two galleries, Bargehouse and gallery.

The Museum of London was opened in 1976 as part of the Barbican Estate, using collections previously held by the Corporation at the Guildhall and also items from other collections, including the London Museum, which was located in Kensington Palace. The museum comprises a series of chronological galleries containing original artefacts, models, pictures and diagrams, with a strong emphasis on archaeological discoveries, the built city and urban development and interactive displays and activities for all ages. Fragments of the Roman London Wall can be seen just outside the museum. The prehistoric gallery, "London Before London" and the "Medieval London" gallery have already been updated, and in 2007 a new exhibition on the great fire of London opened. We also saw the Great London Fire exhibition in February 2017.

                 At the V & A- February 2017


Camden Town is laid out as a residential district from 1791 and originally part of the manor of Kentish Town and the parish of St Pancreas, London, Camden Town became an important location during the early development of the railways, which reinforced its position on the London Canal network. The area's industrial economic base has been replaced by service industries such as retail, tourism and entertainment. The area now hosts street markets and music venues.

A boat ride on the Regent canal is a nice experience. We did it in 2013 and again in 2017. From Camden Town to Little Venice- going through the Camden lock.

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded through a personal act of King George III on 10 December 1768 with a mission to promote the arts of design in Britain through education and exhibition.

Hay's Galleria is a building in the London Borough of Southwark situated on the south bank of the River Thames featuring offices, restaurants, shops, and flats. Originally a warehouse and associated wharf (Hay's Wharf) for the port of London, it was redeveloped in the 1980s. 

It is named after its original owner, the merchant Alexander Hay, who acquired the property – then a brewhouse – in 1651.

          The Navigators, 1987, a sculpture by David Kemp

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